Whenever I think of Solo I think of the color green. Then I think semi-good, but not as good as Deadpool good, assassin. Then I think, “Wait…didn’t Spider-Man beat him up a bunch in the 90s?” Why Marvel is resurrecting this character for his own series is beyond me, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good! We take a look, but is it good?
Solo #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The Marvel summary reads:
The “One Man War on Terror” will get the job done! That’s right — James Bourne, A.K.A. Solo, is on his own, right where he belongs! Deadly alien weapons are making their way into the hands of ordinary thugs – and Solo is going undercover to locate the source. Things are heating up, and Solo might just wish he had some backup! Deadpool was just the beginning. You haven’t seen anything till you’ve met Solo!
Why does this book matter?
Gerry Duggan and Geoffrey Thorne write this issue so you know the character will feel genuine and this isn’t some cash grab. Whether or not they can flesh out the character and make him feel important remains to be seen, but I have faith in their abilities. With pencils by Paco Diaz you know you’re getting a 90’s revival look and feel.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The writing team definitely get the personality and character right in this first issue. They not only establish the character has loved ones – which makes him feel more grounded and human – but also the fact that he’s not the best at what he does per se. In the opening pages (check them out above and below) Solo is in the wrong location — which makes him late for his actual mission. He’s got a big grin and loves what he does, but he’s not perfect — which makes the character relatable. The book also has a sense of humor (there’s a funny bit with a dog), though it’s not filled with jokes by any means. Essentially the writing team bookends the book with gloom and doom, then in the main pages establishes maybe Solo isn’t the guy we want saving the world. It’s a good set up and kicks things off nicely.
I’m not a huge fan of Diaz’s pencils, though they certainly bring the 90’s vibes in all its thin lined, many pocketed hero sort of way. The layouts are creative and keep things moving and the book never feels stale.
Big splashy hero shot!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Solo looks a bit off here and there and the insane hashmark detailed lines on his face certainly make him look too old too. Diaz certainly appears to have come from the school of Rob Liefeld, or is at least paying homage to him and his style. One page in particular, where Solo is diving away from an explosion, looks off due to the speed lines behind him conveying the fire. It doesn’t’ do a great job and looks silly when it shouldn’t.
Overall, this book establishes the character and stakes well, but I don’t think it sells the reader hard enough in why it needs to exist just yet. It’s not straight comedy, nor straight action, but something in between. It reads like it’s getting its bearings and could be great, but feels so-so at best. The story in this issue all feels as though it’s setting up the bigger picture rather than feeling important in its own right.
So you’re not really the best at what you do?
Is It Good?
Solo #1 sets up what could be a very fun series, but its identity is still in question. The character is relatable and feels unique. His less than perfect nature sets him apart from other heroes of his caliber, which makes the book feel valuable, though not yet necessary.